A little over a month ago CNet published an interview with David Heckerman, lead researcher of Microsoft’s Machine Learning and Applied Statistics Group. I haven’t heard much about David lately, and apparently he’s been busy developing open source analytical tools for HIV research.
Back in 1990, David had won the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for his thesis “Probabilistic Similarity Networks”. He was a major influence in the ’90s in establishing Bayesian networks and Bayesian methodologies as practical tools in AI and machine learning. I remember my adviser lending me a copy of David’s thesis when I first started my PhD study. He told me to read it and to strive for a thesis of similar caliber. (Yes… the first couple years of graduate study tend to be filled with optimism and ambition.) From David’s thesis I had seen the potential of quality research.
In the last five years or so, I haven’t come across any publication by David Heckerman. It’s great to learn that he’s still doing great work, just now in a slightly different field.